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By MADDY VITALEOcean City may be the first place to think of along the coast for a family-style summer vacation to enjoy the beaches, entertainment, Boardwalk, bay and eateries.But what about in the offseason? Ever thought about giving “America’s Greatest Family Resort” a try in winter?“While many see Ocean City as a summer retreat, the island is also a wonderful and peaceful place to enjoy during any season,” explained Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Ocean City, New Jersey, is America’s Greatest Family Resort and offers year-round fun for the whole family.”Santa Claus makes his appearance at the Ocean City Christmas Parade to the delight of thousands of spectators.Throughout Christmas there was an array of holiday events, attractions and even a parade with Santa as the star of the hour. Holiday decorations throughout town, horse-drawn carriage rides and entertainment continue until New Year’s Day.Gillian explained how magical it is in Ocean City over Christmas.“Christmas is always so exciting, from the beautiful decorations, free horse and carriage rides, photos with Santa in an official lifeguard boat, breakfasts with Santa, and all the holiday events,” she said.And to start off 2020 right, Ocean City hosts the biggest family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration around with “First Night.”It offers 70 activities, acts and events from 4 p.m. to midnight to ring in the New Year and not break the bank.For just $20 per person, “First Night” revelers have an all-inclusive ticket to a multitude of entertainment venues. The celebration is capped off by fireworks at midnight.Fireworks create a brilliant display to ring in the New Year. (Photo courtesy City of Ocean City)“First Night Ocean City is the perfect family way to spend New Year’s Eve. First Night offers many different entertainment options so there is something for everyone, all in a safe, family atmosphere,” Gillian said.And after the New Year’s Eve festivities, there is still a lot to do, she emphasized.To really make the first day of a new year memorable, all one has to do is go to Ocean City for “First Day at the Beach.”New Year’s Day includes the traditional “First Dip,” a wacky plunge into the chilly ocean next to the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace. It is scheduled at 2 p.m.The weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s on New Year’s Day, not bad for those brave enough to race to the water’s edge and take the plunge.The Boardwalk is popular among strollers and bicyclists year-round.For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there is the 5k Boardwalk Run 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day. And for others who like to exercise their shopping legs, there is the “First Day Shopping Extravaganza,” which offers customers bargains in the downtown along Asbury Avenue from Sixth Street to 14th Street.After the first couple of days into the New Year, Ocean City may slow down in its events listings, but Gillian noted that there are still many activities and attractions to enjoy throughout the quiet season.And there is always an abundance of shopping choices, whether in the downtown or on the Boardwalk, along with restaurants open year-round, she said.“Stores stay open throughout the year, along with great restaurants and recreational opportunities. Any time of the year is beautiful to walk or bike ride along our award-winning Boardwalk,” Gillian said. “The winter is a great time to book your summer vacation or search for your dream home on the island.”For more information about Ocean City and its offerings visit: https://oceancityvacation.com.From left, sisters Barbara Broomall, Bonnie Tomaszewski and Debbie Flagg shop downtown along Asbury Avenue in the fall. The traditional First Dip plunge in the ocean is a wacky way to celebrate New Year’s Day.